Perhaps the most prescient call in recent months was made by Wedbush analyst Dan Ives in January, who predicted Apple was gearing up to spend billions on sports content to build up its streaming offerings.
Just two months later, Apple cut a streaming deal with MLB and last month agreed to a new partnership with MLS. But those deals are peanuts compared with what Apple might soon use its $28 billion cash hoard to nab.
AT&T’s $1.5 billion a year Sunday Ticket deal with the NFL ends after the 2022 season and an NFL owner with knowlege of the netogiations tells me Apple will almost assuridly be one of the buyers in the next deal. Also on Apple’s menu are the NBA’s media rights, currently worth an average of $2.6 billion a year. The current deal gives linear television and certain streaming rights to Walt Disney’s ESPN and Turner Sports. Both the Sunday Ticket and NBA new content deals could divide up broadcasting and streaming whereby Apple gets the streaming.
Then there’s college football, in the midst of a conference reallignment brouhaha, which has the Big Ten conference dangling its media rights—along with the possibility of having Notre Dame join the party. The Fighting Irish are currently part of the ACC except for football (the sports that matters in terms of the value of the media rights), where it is indipendent.
If Notre Dame does indeed become part of the Big Ten it would give the conference the three most popular teams in the country and leave college football with two clear superior football conferences with the SEC being the other. The Big Ten’s media contracts expire after this season and with Apple and Amazon big contendor for streamng rights the next package could be worth close to $1 billion a year.